The Surprises in “Armenia, My Home”

“Armenia, My Home” celebrates the modern-day Armenian Republic and its people, and explores the nearly 3,000-year-old  past of the world’s first Christian nation. The documentary from filmmaker Andrew Goldberg, narrated by Andrea Martin (“Only Murders in the Building”), is airing on PBS Stations this week (check local listings) and here, Goldberg explains what makes to project special.

What will viewers of  “Armenia, My Home” be surprised to learn about the Armenian culture?

I think anyone who has never been to Armenia will be most surprised by just how beautiful the country is. It’s got a striking landscape — very ancient monasteries surrounded by totally untouched hills and valleys and cliffs. It’s a hiker’s paradise.

But in terms of the culture, I think one of the most interesting things is the Armenian language. It’s not really related to any other language unless you go back thousands of years, and it has a very distinct and beautiful written alphabet that dates back to the fifth century. You’ll see this script throughout the film — the legend has it that it came to its creator in a dream.

How was Andrea Martin chosen to participate?

I first worked with Andrea in 1999 on another PBS project and she was just an incredible person and a huge talent. When we approached her for this film, we wanted someone who could bring a certain warmth and humor to the script, and she just exudes that naturally. She came to the table with an understanding of the country because she herself is Armenian and has traveled there, and I really do think her love for the place comes through in every line.

What is cutting edge about the documentary’s cinematography?

We were lucky enough to have almost unlimited access to fly drones wherever we wanted in Armenia, and we had some of the best aerial cinematographers in the world to capture it. The drones themselves are the most technologically sophisticated available and they were actually released for purchase just two days before we began filming. We used Guy Alexander and Nathan Richards to film. They are based in Australia. They usually shoot major features like Thor and Mad Max, but can truly do almost anything. Somehow with their footage they managed to capture the soul of Armenia. There’s an expansiveness to their aerials — you can really get the sense of hope and aspiration that Armenians have for the young and growing independent country they now have.

 
 

 

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